Penny Croft is another of those honorary South Africans as she was born in the UK and came out to SA where she recorded a number of songs and eventually returned to Britain. Her father, David Croft, was a sitcom writer and co-wrote scripts for BBC shows such as ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Are You Being Served?’ and ‘Allo, Allo’.
In 1977 Penny recorded ‘Count The Red Cars’, a song she had penned with Zayne Cronje. The song failed to chart on the Springbok Top 20, but did make it onto the first volume of ‘The Best Of SA Pop’ series.
The song is about unrequited love and is underpinned by a beautiful piano melody which builds slowly as a slow confidence comes into Croft’s voice and the lyrics start working through the issues of not being loved in return and finding ways to deal with it. In this case, the singer finds that singing helps her overcome the loneliness (‘And then I’ll hide inside the melody/and cry behind the smile/but I’ll sparkle in the spotlight/sing the songs that you compile’).
This is a positive song which Penny handles with aplomb. It has a lot of feminity to it and would not have worked with changed lyrics to be the theme tune to a popular radio show if it had been called ‘Count The Squad Cars’.
Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 1 (1994) GMP, CDGMPD 40485 (CD)